DIY arrow-making

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DIY arrow-making

Post by Watch Ryder » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:28 am

The first thing I do is ordered up some pre-cut and rounded arrow shafts that suit the bow you've got.
Ebay is where I get my supply's from BUT you can make them from wooden shaft 'blanks' and sand them round.

Image

Note: If you have a timber supplier nearby and your own electric band-saw you could try making your own shafts for arrow-making. This is advanced stuff though and for another guide.
For this guide I've assumed you've got a pre-cut and shaped arrow shaft.

Having the correct 'spine' or stiffness counts here. If you don't get the right 'match' your arrow will veer off to the left or right.
The more powerful your bow, the more 'spine' or rigidity it needs.



Once you've got a bundle of arrow shafts (buying in bulk is cheaper) check each one for straightness, if it's badly bent try and straighten it (sometimes steaming can help with this).

Nocks

Next step is making the nock, where you notch an arrow.
You can do this the fancy, easy way, or the old-fashioned way.
The former is where you stick on an external plastic nock. To do that you should taper the last half-inch of the shaft to accommodate a plastic-nock.
The old-fashioned way is to make your own nock out of the wood itself. This my way of doing it as you don't require purchase a nock. It also means there's no nock piece to 'fall-out' during the course of the arrows life being shot etc.

The grain of the arrow is important, you must go at a right-angle to the grain. That is to say cutting across it.
A vice for this part is real boon. One guy online doesn't use one (no access) so he just uses his knee's and his free hand to steady it!
Now, using a hacksaw or equiv. Make a notch that's about a ¼ of an inch deep or so.
Basically deep enough to get an arrow string into.

A hacksaw is good (what I use and one I made as a teenager at school!). Also a padsaw is fine, possibly a bit more easier to work with for notch-making.
Now widen the thin notch with a file set. I use two tools for widening it.
A small, slender file and a strange coping saw with a circular file-blade in it. It's a strange little thing
but it is well-versed for this kind of work.

You can make your own shape for the nock edges. Or just leave it rough-cut.
I try and make a 'bell' pattern so that the string goes into the notch with a mere smidgen of resistance. That way an arrow will stay nocked even on 'stand-by'
But not so tight that it could throw the arrow awry once it's released from an arrow.

You'll want to reinforce the nock with binding, so use Somax thread or similar to wrap around underneath the nock. About ½ inch should be ok.
For warbow rated longbows you may want to reinforce the nock with a horn insert...

Arrow Lore: The Fletching / Arrowsmith guru's use horn inserts for the nock (if shooting with warbow rated bows....)

Once your nock is complete you can weather-proof it.
I use Danish Oil for this. But any wood-stain should do the trick.
After it dries (3 -- 6 hours) you ought to reinforce the nock with strong thread.
Not only will it strengthen the area, but it make's the arrow have an area you can take a purchase on a bit better.
Last edited by Watch Ryder on Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: DIY arrow-making

Post by Watch Ryder » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:31 am

Arrowheads

Next stage is adding on your arrowhead.

The arrowhead is a class all on it's own. You can add an array of heads to arrows.

Securing it to the shaft can be done in a variety of ways.

One item you will need is a fairly decent glue.

Super glue works, araldite does to.

I haven't tried locktite and others though.

As long as one surface is porous a bonding glue should work fine.

IF you don't have a strong glue then making a binding around the arrowhead can reinforce a weak 'join'.

Normally this is essential if you are 'hafting' an arrowhead (with bone, flint etc). Pinning is another way.

Archers Lore: In times of war some archers arrows would have a weakish glue on their arrowheads.

That way an enemy could not remove an arrowhead by pulling out the shaft...

For my arrowheads I've got some semi-armour-piercing ones known as Modkin's.

These are some of the most affordable one's available outside of forging your own.

These one's are at 3/8's diameter (which is about 12mm or so).

The shafts I ordered already came tapered one end which allows easier insertion.

If your shaft's aren't taperd then either a careful eye and a file is needed OR a bench grinder (much easier).

Add glue onto the arrow, I have it tight in the vice for this bit.

Then insert the arrowhead and screw it on tight.

Curing time vary's but after a couple of hours you can start thinking about getting the fletchings done...

For the fletchings you'll need a fletchers jig OR you can try eye-balling it (bushcraft experts only).

With a jig you can accurately get the 120 degree offset for each of the three fletchings installed.

Although most arrows in the world have three flights some archers prefer more. These arrows are known as 'flu-flu' arrows that are optimized for hunting fowl and other birds etc. These arrows have great drag but will not fly far if they miss, making retrieval easier than using conventional arrows.

Once your fletchings are on you can optionally reinforce them with thread (I recommend a somax-type) and glue the thread for waterproofing

This done you can get out into the field and loose off some arrows. :smile:



To actually *make* fletchings from raw feathers is shown in this video.

I normally go for a good trade-off between flight stability and distance, so I normally choose no more than 6 inches long and no greater than 1 inch in width / height.

For example:

A military grade AP arrow like that found on the Mary Rose would have fletching lengths of up to 8 - 9 inchs long and over one inch in width.

A 'flight' arrow or 'galling' arrow for extreme range optimise is around 1 inch in length and a 1/4 inch in width.

Next is taping down your feather and trimming the diagonal.

Do this two more times and make sure each time it's the same size as the last one. Refer to the video for exact mechanics and so forth.

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Re: DIY arrow-making

Post by Watch Ryder » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:35 am

Further information on making fletchings from feathers.


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